I was up at 5am this morning, so that I could make some soufflés, so that I could get to my mom, Marcia’s (Marsh) house by 9am for breakfast. She loves Panera’s soufflés, so I thought it would be fun to surprise her with my version of them. Today is her birthday, and I don’t think she’ll mind if I tell you that she’s 73 today. And, I hope that when I’m 73, I look as beautiful as she does. And I’m not saying that so that I’ll be her favorite… that’s just a given, because I’m her only child..she has no choice! She truly is beautiful.
So, today…Marsh’s birthday… is what I call a Holy Day of Obligation. It’s one of those events throughout the year that kind of turns into a week’s (or more) celebration. Because she’s so popular, I know that she has a lunch or two planned for next week to celebrate! She’s one of those people who knows and loves everyone, and everyone knows and loves her. And she expects me to know everyone too…
“You know my friend, Ruth?” she’ll ask..
“No mom, I don’t know Ruth..” I’ll answer
“Ye-esss, you know Ruth, the short lady who lives over on Market Street“ she’ll say.
“Nope, I don’t know her..” I’ll answer.
“Yes you do… Mary’s sister-in-law!” she’ll say.
“Who is Mary?” I’ll ask..
“Pru, she was the secretary at the school when you were in kindergarten…” she’ll say.
“Nope. And that was 47 years ago…” I’ll reply.
And then she’ll sit there looking at me incredulously…
“Well, you’d know Ruth if you saw her..” is usually how it ends.
(the names have been changed to protect the innocent..and of course, I exaggerate…but not by much!)
To be honest, I love those conversations. It makes me laugh for days! Sorry mom..but it’s true! Oh man, she’s going to slap me upside the head the next time she sees me…
So, this morning…I walk into my parents house, planning on surprising mom with the soufflés, and here she is pulling out this pretty little plate filled with pastries… mini cheesecakes, eclairs, puff pastries.. typical of Marsh.. It’s her birthday…and she’s thinking of others! We had a lovely breakfast, and just a happy time.
I keep calling them soufflés, but in reality they’re nothing like a soufflé, except that the puff pastry puffs up like a soufflé, but I really don’t think that counts. This is really a great recipe, so easy, and you can change up the meat and vegetables (or make it vegetarian) to suit your taste! For this particular one, I used breakfast sausage that had a little kick to it, spinach, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and gruyere cheese.
…And because I know that I can’t bake a cake, I wanted to bake Marsh something for her birthday, so I decided on cupcakes.
I never learn.
I tried my hand at cupcakes again.
I know, I know… after last week, what was I thinking? But I really wanted to make her some carrot cake cupcakes. I chose Ina Garten’s recipe. I knew that Ina wouldn’t steer me wrong…and I was right. They are moist and delicious! I was like a little kid showing off the soufflés and cupcakes to Marsh… And she “ooh’d and aah’d” just as a mother should… It’s doesn’t matter how old we get…a mom will always be a mom…
So, today I’m bringing Marsh to Angie’s Fiesta Friday… you know…as a part of her week long birthday celebration..
I hope you stop by Angie’s blog, The Novice Gardener for Fiesta Friday. That party is growing like crazy, and you’ll find some really wonderful bloggers sharing a lot of lovely recipes and stuff you’ll just love… A special thank you to Angie for hosting this great event, and for featuring my Open Face Steak and Radish Sliders from last week! I’m truly honored…
LIfe is good… It’s a Happy Birthday Mom, I love you…and Look! I made cupcakes!…. kind of good..
Sausage and Spinach Souffle
Makes Six Tartlets
1 package puff pastry
1 lb bulk breakfast sausage (or patties)
1/4 cup Romano cheese
2 tbsp heavy cream or half & half
1/2 bag baby spinach (3 oz)
1/2 cup marinated artichokes, chopped
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
4 oz Gruyere cheese, grated.
Salt and Pepper to taste
Unwrap the puff pastry, and let thaw. Cut each puff pastry into fourths. Spray six tartlet pans with vegetable spray. Place one square of puff pastry into each tartlet pan. Set aside.
In a medium size frying pan, break the sausage into pieces, and cook over medium heat until fully cooked. Divide the cooked sausage among each tartlet pan. It will be the first layer of the souffle.
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the same pan, and add the garlic. Saute for about a minute or two. Add the spinach and saute just until wilted. Add the artichokes and sundries tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for another minute or two. Remove from heat. Divide among each tartlet pan, layering on top of the sausage.
Whisk the eggs the milk and Romano Cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Pour three tablespoons of the egg mixture over the spinach mixture in the tartlet pan.
Top with grated gruyere. Fold each corner of the pastry square into the tartlet.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 1/2 hour, or until golden brown.
Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Barefoot Contessa Recipe
Just a quick note: Ina Garten suggested to bake the cupcakes for the first 10 minutes at 400 degrees, and then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake for another 35 minutes. I found that I could bake them for 30 minutes straight at 350 degrees with no issues at all.
There will be plenty of frosting to frost the cupcakes heavily!!
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 extra large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 cups grated carrots ( less than one pound)
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
For the frosting:
3/4 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 lb unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp pur vanilla extract
1 lb powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, one at a time.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.
Line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop the batter into muffin cups until each is 3/4 full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Frosting:
Cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (I used the whisk attachment and beat the frosting until it was really fluffy).
Add the sugar and beat until smooth.
When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and serve.